Who is ready for an end of season trip to the beach? That’s right, it may be November but that doesn’t mean you can’t plan a trip to the gorgeous sands available on Alabama’s Gulf Coast. In fact, we would argue that this is actually the best time to arrange a vacation along this stretch of coastline on the Gulf of Mexico. If a plethora of spectacular beaches, a variety of fun-filled activities and of course, delicious seafood sounds appealing, we are convinced our guide to 3 days in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach will be the perfect tonic to justify booking a late season trip to the beach.
We love sharing our experiences and providing recommendations on things to do, places to eat and where to stay. However, given that we have put together a bunch of other posts on Gulf Shores and Orange Beach which you will see scattered throughout this post, we want to take this a step further and actually share a customized itinerary that we think you are going to love!
Our suggested guide is by no means 100% set in stone and we always encourage you to allow some spontaneity but if you are looking for some ideas and perhaps a plan of action for your next visit to the Gulf Coast, hopefully, this itinerary will come in handy!
Throughout this post, we will be linking to other posts tailored specifically to certain attractions and spots that we recommend but we think the real benefit of reading this post will be to download our FREE one-page guide to spending 72 amazing hours in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach.
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Where to Stay
Gulf Shores and Orange Beach is spoiled for choice when it comes to accommodation options. Regardless of your personal preference (hotel vs. condo) and budget, you can be sure to find something that meets your needs at pretty much any time of the year.
The beauty of visiting late in the season is that you can enjoy lower rates and less-crowded hotels/condominiums. It’s the best of both worlds and honestly the main reason why we love visiting in October and November.
We have been fortunate to stay in three different condominiums, each of which offers something unique and an experience you won’t forget. Given that we cannot choose a favorite from these three spots, we are going to highly recommend all three and let you make your own choice.
If luxury accommodation is what you love, look no further than Turquoise Place by Spectrum Resorts. This is the ultimate relaxation option with everything from world-class amenities throughout the condominiums to a myriad of activities and services exclusive to guests staying at Turquoise Place.
How does the sound of waking up every morning to the sights and sounds of the Gulf of Mexico, knowing that you can take a few steps and hop into the hot tub on your balcony? That’s right, every condominium is fitted with guests very own private hot tub, a feature that will surely incentivize anyone to consider this as a viable accommodation option.
When Heather headed to Gulf Shores and Orange Beach on a girls getaway, Turquoise Place was the perfect spot to enjoy a relaxing weekend break with the girls!
Address 26302 Perdido Beach Blvd, Orange Beach, AL 36561 Tel:(877)720-5864 Website: Turquoise Place by Spectrum Resorts
The Beach Club
Spectrum Resorts is proud to have yet another amazing property in Gulf Shores. The Beach Club was the first property we stayed at in Gulf Shores and we can well and truly attest that this is an unbelievable condominium complex that you would be hard-pressed to resist.
Spacious, comfortable and everything you need to create a “home from home” experience, The Beach Club is the epitome of relaxation. The gorgeous swimming pool is perhaps one of the highlight amenities but we would argue the all-new beachfront drink service is the best aspect!
Head to the gorgeous private beach and know that Spectrum Resorts will provide you with your favorite beverage right on the sandy shores of the Gulf Coast!
Address 925 Beach Club Trail, Gulf Shores, AL 36542 Tel:(888)224-7684 Website: The Beach Club by Spectrum Resorts
San Carlos Condominiums
Our most recent visit saw us stay in the heart of Gulf Shores at the breathtaking San Carlos Condominiums by Young’s Suncoast Realty and Vacation Rentals. These spacious condos are family-friendly and offer spectacular oceanfront views of the Gulf of Mexico.
Whether you are intrigued by the master bathrooms with jetted tubs or the private balconies, the main benefit of staying at San Carlos is that you are literally minutes from the heartbeat of Gulf Shores. Take a stroll along the beach before heading inland to enjoy “hassle-free vacationing” as you can experience attractions, shopping, and restaurants.
If you read our recent post on where to stay in Gulf Shores, you will know that we fell in love with San Carlos and the hardest part was actually leaving! This is when you know you have found a spot that you will return to time and time again.
Address 365 E Beach Blvd, Gulf Shores, AL 36542 Tel:(855)245-0220 Website: San Carlos Condominiums by Young's Suncoast Realty & Vacation Rentals
3 Days in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach
72 hours…it’s time to get ready for an action-packed but incredibly enjoyable itinerary! We are going to have a blend of relaxation mixed with adventure while also offering a few recommendations on our favorite spots to each breakfast, lunch, and dinner (and maybe a couple of surprises thrown in the mix!
Here are a few questions that you need to ask yourself before heading to Gulf Shores and Orange Beach:
- Are you ready to have A LOT of fun?
- Are you ready to relax on 32 miles of gorgeous sandy beaches?
- Are you ready to indulge in a variety of delicious seafood dishes (and other amazing cuisine options)?
- Are you ready for a fine mix of history, culture, action-packed adventure, arts and crafts and much more?
If all the answers to the above are YES (come on guys, it has to be YES!) then our 3-day itinerary to Gulf Shores and Orange Beach may well be the perfect option for you! Regardless of the amount of time you spend in this part of Alabama, there will always be plenty to keep you occupied.
Let’s take a look at what we have in store.
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Day 1: The Adventure Begins
9:00 AM – Breakfast at Brick and Spoon
It all starts at Brick and Spoon in Orange Beach! If you are looking for our top recommendation for breakfast in the area, this is our favorite (though as you will see, there are some pretty awesome choices that makes this a tough decision!)
Why? I think the infamous “Bananas in Pajamas” is a huge selling point along with the Bloody Mary bar where you can create your favorite concoction. For those of you looking to sample “unique meals with a spoonful of southern flair,” we are convinced that you will immediately fall in love with Brick and Spoon!
Address 24705 Canal Rd, Orange Beach, AL 36561 Tel:(251)981-7772 Website: Brick and Spoon
10:00 AM – Arts & Crafts at The Clay Studio
What better way to start your Gulf Shores and Orange Beach adventure than by sampling something you would likely never expect to experience in this part of Alabama! Head over to The Clay Studio and learn how to make your very own pottery. That’s right, find the artistic genes inside you and create a masterpiece.
Regardless of your skill level, you can be sure you will have an amazing time. Glassblowing, admiring fine artwork and learning about this gorgeous location are all alternative options but this is definitely a spot worth visiting.
Address Orange Beach Art Center, 26389 Canal Rd, Orange Beach, AL 36561 Tel:(251)981-2787 Website: Coastal Arts Center
11:30 AM – Shopping at The Wharf
A little late morning retail therapy at The Wharf in Orange Beach is a perfect way to unwind. Grab a cup of your favorite espresso at Southern Grind Coffee House before exploring some of the finest boutique shops in the area.
The Ferris wheel is a great way to enjoy scenic panoramic views of the Gulf Coast while a number of excursions set sail from The Wharf Marina if you prefer to head out on a cruise.
Address 23101 Canal Rd, Orange Beach, AL 36561 Tel:(251)224-1000 Website: The Wharf
2:00 PM – Late Lunch at Bayes Southern Bar and Grill
Following your morning of retail therapy and arts/crafts, you will be raring to head to Bayes Southern Bar and Grill to enjoy a late lunch. If you visit between 2-6 PM (Mon-Fri), you can enjoy Happy Hour where you can indulge in delicious appetizers and some of the finest drinks along the Gulf Coast.
It’s tough to resist any of the menu options but we have a real soft spot for the Duck and Andouille Egg Rolls and the Crawfish Beignets. Why not consider sampling a variety of dishes and sharing among your party…there will be plenty to go around and it’s a great way to enjoy the best of Bayes delectable menu!
Address 4673 Wharf Parkway West, Orange Beach, AL 36561 Tel:(251)240-0411 Website: Bayes Southern Bar & Grill
3:30 PM – Relax on the Beach/Enjoy Amenities at the Condominium
Regardless of where you choose to stay, you can be assured that there will be plenty of gorgeous beaches or amenities at the condominium complex waiting for you to enjoy. After an action-packed morning, you can spend a few hours in relaxation mode before heading out to enjoy a late dinner at one of the finest spots along the Gulf Coast.
7:00 PM – Dinner at Cobalt Restaurant
For seafood connoisseurs, Cobalt Restaurant in Orange Beach is undoubtedly one of the best spots to visit. Situated in the perfect location across the Perdido Pass, Cobalt offers spectacular waterfront views for those wanting to sit outdoors while enjoying the delicious cuisine available.
Our top recommendation is to sample a little bit of everything! The oysters at Cobalt are delicious and are a great choice for an appetizer while the Blackened Redfish is one of our favorites on the eclectic menu. If you are looking for an alternative to seafood, consider the Peppercorn Encrusted Filet.
Regardless of your preference, you won’t be disappointed and you certainly won’t leave disappointed!
Address 28099 Perdido Beach Blvd, Orange Beach, AL 36561 Tel:(251)923-5300 Website: Cobalt Restaurant
9:00 PM – Late Evening Stroll on the Beach
After a delicious evening meal, there is no better way to burn a few calories than taking a late evening stroll along the beach. You certainly won’t be alone as this is a popular activity for folks looking to enjoy the sound of the ocean before heading to bed after a long day of fun in the sun!
Day 2: Prepare for Action-Packed Itinerary
8:00 AM – Morning Walk on the Beach
If you are willing to wake up early, there is nothing quite like enjoying the sunrise in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. It’s pretty spectacular but if you are not a morning person, be sure to enjoy a sunset which is equally breathtaking!
You will never be far from the 32 miles of beach on the Gulf Coast. Every mile is gorgeous and I cannot think of any better way to start the day than taking a morning stroll here.
9:00 AM – Breakfast at The Ruby Slipper
Worked up an appetite after walking a couple of miles on the beach? Although we already recommended our favorite breakfast spot, The Ruby Slipper is another of our preferred places to enjoy what we consider to be the most important meal of the day.
If you love Eggs Benedict, we would argue that The Ruby Slipper has the BEST collection to choose from. The Shrimp Boogaloo Benedict just sounds pretty cool right but I would argue that opting for The Peacemaker (you can choose any 2!) comprising of the Eggs Cochon and Chicken St. Charles are the best.
Address 24151 Perdido Beach Blvd, Orange Beach, AL 36561 Tel:(251)800-7470 Website: The Ruby Slipper
10:30 AM – Bike Riding Through Backcountry Trails
One of the best aspects of visiting Gulf Shores and Orange Beach is the spectacular natural landscape away from the beach. That’s right, you read that correctly, the gorgeous Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail complex is an amazing place to enjoy a variety of distinctive ecosystems.
What better way to experience this than by renting bikes and heading out into the heart of these various trails. With 15 miles of trails to choose from, you can be sure that there will be something for everyone. You never quite know what wildlife you will stumble across during your visit to the backcountry!
Check out some of our other top attractions away from the beach in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach for more inspiration on the backcountry trails.
Address 3801 Orange Beach Blvd, Orange Beach, AL 36561 Tel:(251)981-1180 Website: Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail
2:00 PM – Lunch at Sassy Bass Crazy Donuts
Remember…you are on vacation! It’s really crucial that you think like this before heading to our recommended lunch spot. Sassy Bass Crazy Donuts is a unique experience unlike anywhere else that we have visited. Who would have thought to combine a hamburger with a donut?
It may not sound particularly appealing but it actually works pretty well. Avoid thinking about calories and consider sharing one of these delicacies (did I really just say that!) because there is plenty for everyone to enjoy.
Address 132 W 1st Ave, Gulf Shores, AL 36542 Tel:(251)948-3838
3:00 PM – Explore Historic Fort Morgan
It’s all about learning about the history of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach when you head to the historic location of Fort Morgan. Located in the mouth of Mobile Bay, Fort Morgan is a bastion fort that played an integral role in both the War of 1812 and the American Civil War.
Visitors can enjoy self-guided tours and this is certainly an attraction that will help you learn way more than you could ever have imagined before heading to Alabama’s Gulf Coast.
Address 110 AL-180, Gulf Shores, AL 36542 Tel:(251)540-5257 Website: Fort Morgan
6:00 PM – Dinner at Luna’s Eat and Drink
Trying to pick just a couple of locations for dining in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach is a challenge in itself. Although we recommend heading to Luna’s Eat and Drink to sample more decadent cuisine options, there are so many choices out that allowing a little spontaneity may be the appropriate plan of action.
Hand-crafted dishes ranging from delicious Deviled Eggs for an appetizer to Stuffed Gulf Grouper for your entree are recommendations we cannot wait to sample again. For those of you looking to enjoy a beverage or two, Luna’s is home to a variety of craft beers that cannot be found anywhere else along this stretch of Alabama coastline.
Address 25689 Canal Rd Orange Beach, AL 36561 Tel:(251)980-5862 Website: Luna's Eat and Drink
7:30 PM – Dessert at The Yard Milkshake Bar
I mentioned there may be a sweet treat thrown into the itinerary. Head to The Yard Milkshake Bar and allow yourself to indulge in one of the magical creations. I think the images pretty much tell the story but only after experiencing one of these majestic milkshakes will you realize just how amazing they are.
Address 3800 Gulf Shores Pkwy #330, Gulf Shores, AL 36542 Tel:(251)948-0121 Website: The Yard Milkshake Bar
8:30 PM – Evening Stroll on the Beach
Head back to the beach for a relaxing walk along your favorite stretch of coastline. By this point, you won’t even need to follow this itinerary because you will know that the gorgeous beaches are calling your name. Alternatively, head back to your condo and relax with your favorite beverage on the balcony and listen to the waves crashing against the shoreline.
Day 3 – Wind Down and Relax
8:00 AM – Breakfast at The Southern Grind Coffee House
I always love to start my day with a coffee and there is no better spot to find great espresso drinks than The Southern Grind Coffee House. Two locations, either at The Wharf or the one we chose for breakfast at Indigo ensure that if you are in Orange Beach, this is a spot you won’t want to resist.
Whether you are visiting for a hearty breakfast choice or simply a pastry accompanying your Caramel Macchiato or Americano, you cannot help but enjoy the decor throughout the coffee house, perfectly themed for the location on the Gulf Coast.
Address 22843 Perdido Beach Blvd, Orange Beach, AL 36561 Tel:(251)975-2883 Website: The Southern Grind Coffee House
9:00 AM – Relax on the Beach or Enjoy Spa Amenities
Hopefully, our itinerary has included enough time for a little relation on the beach or at your condominium. For those of you opting to stay at The Beach Club, be sure to take advantage of the full-service spa amenities available or those at Turquoise Place will surely not be able to resist floating along the lazy river.
12:00 PM – Lunch at Tacky Jack’s
Renowned as “the best seafood restaurant in Alabama” (at least by the restaurant), Tacky Jack’s is a vibrant and trendy spot to enjoy lunch. We have been fortunate to visit here for breakfast but the lunch menu is equally appetizing.
The gorgeous views overlooking the waterfront ensure visitors will always want to come back but we would argue that the food itself is enough to justify a return visit. Be sure to try the Mexican Garbage nachos but be warned, there is plenty here to share among several guests!
Address 27206 Safe Harbor Dr, Orange Beach, AL 36561 Tel:(251)981-4144 Website: Tacky Jack's
1:00 PM – Shopping at Tanger Outlet Mall
If some of those boutique stores at The Wharf were a little expensive, we have the perfect alternative if you are still interested in getting your retail therapy fix while staying in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. Head to the Tanger Outlet Mall in nearby Foley and enjoy a plethora of outlet stores where you can be assured to find an awesome deal!
The challenging aspect will be not wanting to spend the rest of the day at the Tanger Outlets because we still have another amazing activity that you won’t want to miss.
Address 2601 S McKenzie St, Foley, AL 36535 Tel:(866)665-8678 Website: Tanger Outlets Foley
4:30 PM – Dinner Cruise at Hudson Marina
Can you think of any better way to wind down your visit to Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, than by heading out on a dinner cruise onboard the Perdido Queen? Thanks to Hudson Marina, you can enjoy the best dinner cruise in Orange Beach!
This is not a sales pitch, it’s reality…this is an AMAZING experience. Live entertainment, delicious cuisine and of course, a breathtaking landscape. The perfect scenario is when you head back and you can “hopefully” enjoy an amazing sunset. It’s one of those experiences you will cherish forever and definitely in our opinion, THE best way to finish your trip.
Address 4575 S Wilson Blvd #1, Orange Beach, AL 36561 Tel:(251)981-4127 Website: Hudson Marina
8:00 PM – Late Evening Sweet Treat at Matt’s Ice Cream
Did you really think we would let you leave without sampling another of our favorite ice cream spots? Head to Matt’s Ice on Gulf Shores Parkway and indulge in homemade ice cream. Every flavor is delicious so we will just leave it you to decide which is your favorite!
You cannot go wrong here and the difficult aspect will be figuring out which you want. A quick tip…be sure to sample several flavors before making a final choice.
Address 1308 and 701 Gulf Shores Parkway, Gulf Shores, AL 36542 Tel:(251)948-7098 Website: Matt's Ice Cream
We told you that we were ready to provide an action-packed itinerary in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. However, we feel that we have put together a nice blend of action and relaxation but perhaps most importantly, a variety of delicious cuisine options that will surely leave you hungry after reading this post.
Gulf Shores and Orange Beach is the perfect haven for a getaway, regardless of how long you choose to stay. From 48 hours to several weeks, this is a location we don’t think you can get bored of because there is so much to do. Trying to cram a little bit of everything into only three days was a huge challenge but hopefully, our recommended itinerary will give you a few ideas as to what to experience on your next visit to the Gulf Coast!
Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below and give us some ideas for our next trip to GSOB!